打柴舞 Firewood Gathering Dance
編號: III - 32
Inscribed list: National List, First Batch
Inventory no.: III - 32
Nominating unit(s): Hainan Province, Sanya City
The Firewood Gathering Dance (打柴舞) of the Li nationality of originates from ancient Yazhou (古崖洲), now known as Sanya city (三亞市) at Hainan. The body of the deceased is kept in a coffin for several weeks or even a month long before it is buried, during which time a ritual dance is performed by the villagers in order to chase away beasts to protect the body, as well as to suppress fear and pay respects to the ancestors.
The dance uses bamboo poles chopped from the trees above the hills, thus the name DaChai (打柴) (meaning “chopping timber”) in Chinese. The bamboo poles are lined in a row parallel to each other, resting on a perpendicular pole on each end. Villagers will hold the end of the sticks and control the movement of them, creating the rhythm as the sticks clack with the other sticks. Accompanying the rhythm, the dancers are to hop and jump between the poles, timing their steps to step in a gap before it is closed by the moving sticks. There are in total main 9 dance routines for the dance, including the iconic frog step (青蛙步), dog chasing deer (狗追鹿步), monkey (猴子步) and crow routines (烏鴉步). Some of these steps were inspired by the lifestyle of the ancestors in the Li population. Through these dance routines, the dancers also hope that the kind creatures like frogs, monkeys and deer will accompany the deceased one’s spirit and bring them to the other world.
Women were forbidden to join in the dance in the past, but now they participate just as much as the men. As the dancers move around the spaces created by the moving sticks swiftly, they have to be careful of the sticks in order to prevent injuries for their head and legs.
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